Latest Stories


Selflessness prevails in shelter plan


ANNALIZA Leban and her triplets, the first beneficiaries of the Catholic Relief Services shelter project. NICO ALCONABA

Annaliza Leban gave birth to Charlie, the first of the triplets, in this town on Nov. 27. That same day she was rushed to a hospital in Mati City to deliver, this time by Caesarean section, Charmaine and Charlene.

Annaliza and her babies were already home in Barangay Lambajon when Typhoon “Pablo” struck and wrecked this town on Dec. 4. Annaliza, her birth wounds still fresh, fell sick and had to be brought to the hospital again. The babies and six other siblings were left to the care of their father Danilo.

For months, while Annaliza fought for her life, the triplets, their six siblings and Danilo lived in a shanty built of what remained of their typhoon-swept house. On Feb. 11, Annaliza, now fully recovered, returned to Lambajon. This time, to a new house, courtesy of Catholic Relief Services (CRS).

Chosen by the people

The Lebans are the first beneficiaries of the group’s recovery and resilient shelter program for those who lost their homes during the typhoon.

The CRS built the Lebans’ 18-square-meter home for P21,000.

Fr. Darwey Clark, parish priest of Sacred Heart of Jesus Church, said the Lebans were chosen by the people of the community.

“When we were making the initial list of the beneficiaries, we asked the people who they thought should get the first shelter, they unanimously chose the Lebans,” Clark said.

“I was surprised at how easy it was for the residents, all of them victims of the  typhoon, to choose the Lebans. It showed how selfless they were,” said the priest.

The selection process is not easy. The residents choose among themselves who needed shelter the most. The list will be validated by CRS. The names will be posted for public scrutiny.


In one community meeting, Clark said, a man asked that his name be deleted from the list, saying he could apply for a government loan and raise the money needed to rebuild his house.

“The man instead nominated someone who was not even in the meeting,” Clark said.

A beneficiary should have at least three persons who would help in the construction. This was not a problem for a blind man who got nominated.

“Also in one meeting, when the crowd was asked how the blind man would do his part of the deal (help in the construction), five neighbors stood up and volunteered to work,” Clark said.

Aside from the volunteers, CRS hires a carpenter and two helpers who will be paid P350 and P225, respectively, daily for 10 days.

“We expect this ‘10 working days’ to be cut in half because the workers, as the days go by, will automatically know how the lumber should be cut and where it should be installed. Even if they finish a house in only five days, they will be paid for 10 days,” Clark said.

The community volunteers, now with new skills, can also apply as “paid helpers” when demand for workers peaks. The CRS plans to go full blast, building at least 750 units, next month.

The shelters, however, are not the usual “A-type frames and braces” where galvanized iron sheets will be installed.

Special design

The CRS has a special design that would withstand a typhoon.

Roel Bansali, CRS shelter and quality assurance engineer, said coco lumber is being used.

Each unit would need at least 720 board feet of coco lumber, or a total of 10 coconut trees.

When CRS starts building more shelters next month, each 18-square-meter unit will only cost P14,000. But these won’t have walls.

From the savings of building “wall-less” shelters, Bansali said, more typhoon resilient structures will rise.

“We believe the people can look for ways to put a wall on their new shelter. They can use the tents and tarpaulins they got from donor agencies. They can use whatever they have salvaged from the typhoon debris,” Clark said.

This holds true for the Lebans. When the Inquirer visited their new home in Purok Uno in Lambajon, Danilo was sawing off a P300 plywood he bought from his earnings as carpenter’s helper, an occupation new to the coconut farmer which he learned while helping build his new home.

“I’m making a door,” he said, his wife Annaliza in a corner attending to Charlie, one of the triplets.

Inside their 18-square-meter, typhoon-resilient shelter, is the newly built wall that makes half of the house a bedroom.

The interior wall, now covered with a gray tarpaulin, is made of pieces of wood that Danilo picked up from the typhoon debris.

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

More from this Column:

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: aid , Catholic Relief Services , Chelter , Housing , Typhoon Pablo

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  2. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  3. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  4. Massive infra spending set
  5. OFW brings MERS virus to Philippines
  6. DOJ to NBI: Arrest Cedric Lee, 4 others
  7. Cardinal Tagle to faithful: Join politics to clean it
  8. Estrada, Gigi Reyes denied access to evidence from other respondents
  9. Lacson’s wife loses diamond earring to thieves but recovers jewelry quickly with police arrest
  10. DOJ orders arrest of Cedric Lee
  1. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  2. Suspect in Vhong Navarro mauling tries to leave PH
  3. Fr. Suarez says last Mass on Easter before returning donated land to San Miguel
  4. MH370 co-pilot made mid-flight phone call – report
  5. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  6. I’ll follow my conscience on Estrada, says JV Ejercito
  7. ‘Wife of Jesus’ theory papyrus not fake – Harvard study
  8. Gay college instructor arrested for oral sex with student
  9. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  10. Palace: We can’t blame increase in population on Vitangcol
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Pork payoffs to newscasters Erwin Tulfo, Del Prado, others bared
  4. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  5. Model Helena Belmonte wished ‘to slash her wrist and hope to die’
  6. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  7. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  8. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  9. Police rule out foul play in Helena Belmonte’s death as boyfriend is ‘traumatized’
  10. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct


  • World reacts to death of Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Two Popes who would be saints
  • Anti-gay demo in Ethiopia cancelled
  • Obama launches measures to support solar energy in US
  • Nebraska toddler gets stuck inside claw machine
  • Sports

  • Duke freshman declares for NBA draft
  • Vietnam says it will not host Asian Games
  • Nadal passes clay landmark with 300th victory
  • Wawrinka waltzes through with Monte Carlo walkover
  • Power Pinays smash India in Asian Women’s Club volleyball opener
  • Lifestyle

  • Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Nobel laureate, dies at 87
  • Ford Mustang turns 50 atop Empire State Building
  • Pro visual artists, lensmen to judge Pagcor’s photo contest
  • ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  • This is not just a farm
  • Entertainment

  • Cannes film festival launches race for 2014 Palme d’Or
  • Jones, Godard, Cronenberg in competition at Cannes
  • Will Arnett files for divorce from Amy Poehler
  • American rapper cuts own penis, jumps off building
  • Jay Z to bring Made in America music fest to LA
  • Business

  • Oil prices mixed ahead of long Easter weekend
  • US stocks end mostly higher after earnings deluge
  • Total says makes ‘very promising’ oil find off Ivory Coast
  • ‘Chinese Twitter’ firm Weibo to go public in US
  • World stocks subdued, Nikkei flat on profit taking
  • Technology

  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Filipinos #PrayForSouthKorea
  • Taylor Swift tries video blogging, crashes into fan’s bridal shower
  • DOF: Tagaytay, QC best at handling funds
  • Smart phone apps and sites perfect for the Holy Week
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 17, 2014
  • A humbler Church
  • Deepest darkness
  • ‘Agnihotra’ for Earth’s health
  • It’s the Holy Week, time to think of others
  • Global Nation

  • Last call for nominations to ’14 Presidential Awards
  • San Francisco business coalition slams proposed tax on sugary drinks
  • A ‘time-travel’ production of ‘Les Miserable’ at Stanford
  • Filipina Maryknoll sister honored for years of service
  • Malaysia quarantines 64 villagers over MERS virus
  • Marketplace